Beloved among the nightlife crowd for its proper delish bak chor mee and homemade iced lemon tea, South Bridge Road stronghold BK Eating House has been a bastion for pre- and post-clubbing sessions in the Circular Road vicinity. Especially so during the times when now-defunct indie hotspot Home Club (RIP) was just across the road — but these days, it’s a nearly-mandatory visit for regulars of nearby club Headquarters and bar Skinny’s Lounge.
Alas, the noodle stall that has enjoyed both mainstream and cult-like following for the past 10 years at BK Eating House is no more. The good news is that they moved… right across the road.
Now located less than a couple of meters across from BK Eating House, Yan Kee Noodle House is still offering the mee sua that we know and love in a totally new venue that hosts both an air-conditioned section and a small al fresco dining area. Longtime favorites such as the mushroom and minced meat noodles as well as handmade fishball soup are still around, made by the same people who’ve been at it since 2008.
Responding to queries by Coconuts Singapore, the proprietors of Yan Kee Noodle House simply mentioned that the stall owners were forced to move out of BK Eating House. “Very sad,” they said, without revealing further details.
A visit to Yan Kee Noodle House last night revealed a sorry sight — less than a handful of patrons were seen dining at the restaurant. Two forlorn employees were spotted standing outside the alfresco dining area, trying to catch the eyes of anyone eating across the street at their former venue.
Perhaps the reason why folks remain unaware of the change is that there still is a stall selling Specialty Dry Mee Sua and all the rest of the beloved fare at BK Eating House. The signage and the staff uniforms remain exactly the same, without any indication that the stall is being operated by a whole new team.
Aided by the fact that nothing looks any different, business remains booming at BK Eating House’s noodle stall. Customers seemed to be unaware that the original stall has moved (right across the road!), judging from the long queue of customers waiting to order.
“That’s not us,” an employee of Yan Kee Noodle House stated to Coconuts Singapore. “They copied nearly everything from us — and our customers don’t know that’s not us”.
Rumors have been swirling that BK Eating House’s landlord got into a disagreement with their former anchor tenants and pushed them out, with the former choosing to run a noodle stall on his own, while keeping the branding intact.
“He thinks we are doing well so maybe he wanted to do it himself,” offered the Yan Kee Noodle House employee.
Regulars of the OG bak chor mee stall have reported a difference in food taste and quality since Yan Kee Noodle House moved out. Employees in the kitchen of the BK Eating House stall appeared to be struggling to keep up with the influx of orders when we dropped by last night.
“To be really candid I think it’s a real sneaky move (for the landlord) to keep the old signboard and uniforms,” said Dennis Yang, a longtime patron of BK Eating House who tipped us off about the change. “It’s a pretty messed up story when you break it down — these guys have been holding it down for years and you’d think the landlord would have made all (the money) he needed over that time.”
As for Yan Kee Noodle House, they’re hoping that that patrons — both old and new — will be aware that they’ve moved to a different premise.
“Thank you for your support,” the employees said to us after we left their bright, new, yet empty restaurant.